LifeWay's president, Thom Rainer, offers caution to Christian leaders in their use (or abuse) of social media platforms. He lists seven warnings which are relevant not only to leaders but anyone employing social media like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Among the seven warnings are:
1. Consider anything you say on social media to be permanent. Yes, you can delete or scrub regretful things you have said on social media but, more times than not, the information can still be retrieved. And countless people take screen shots the moment they see something unwisely posted.
5. Too many Christian leaders are posting on social media in the heat of emotional moments. If you are angry or otherwise agitated, take a 24-hour break from social media. If not, you may regret it later.
7. The non-Christian world is watching Christians attack each other on social media. Our Christian witness is compromised again and again by our social media actions. When we say or write scathing attacks on others, non-believers see us as hypocritical, inconsistent, and unworthy of emulating.
Dr. Rainer's warnings are timely and helpful in light of the tragic and untimely death of Braxton Caner, fifteen year old son of Ergun and Jill Caner. Only a few short weeks before the young Caner took his own life, he had been harassed on Twitter by a gang of internet thugs who wanted to get at Ergun Caner through his son. The incident lead JD Hall, one of the ringleaders of the decade-old muckraking campaign against Braxton's father, to post a lengthy statement not only proclaiming his profound sorrow for attacking the young boy, but also vowing to step away from his ceaseless efforts to bring Ergun Caner down.
Read Thom Rainer's full article at Baptist Press: "Warnings for church leaders who use social media"